Park Board candidate Yonis denies allegations surrounding dismissal

At-large Park Board candidate Hashim Yonis was fired from his job with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) last month after an MPRB investigation found he pocketed more than $3,800 he illegally charged for renting out soccer fields.

Yonis was endorsed by Mayor R.T. Rybak and was employed by the MPRB for three years. He was fired on Aug. 23 after a month-long investigation into his alleged misconduct. The Star Tribune first reported on his termination Thursday.

Yonis issued a statement today categorically denying any wrongdoing and says he will clear his name at an appeal hearing scheduled for mid-October.

I wholeheartedly deny all of the allegations and am dismayed at the suspect timing of this article given my candidacy for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.  Contrary to the allegations, I did not misappropriate any park funds.  I have worked hard to build a career and reputation, and would not do anything that would tarnish my accomplishments, nor jeopardize my aspirations for public service,” wrote Yonis.

Yonis said he will “absolutely” stay in the Park Board race, and was considered a strong candidate due to his high-profile endorsement and strong backing in the Somali community.

“They know we’re going to win and they’re scared,” he said in a phone interview Friday. He said he knew who was behind the “politically motivated” investigation, but declined to name names.